Hearts of Steel #2 (SPOILERS)

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by Lord Shockwave, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. Lord Shockwave

    Lord Shockwave Well-Known Member

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    Just finished #2.

    And liked it.

    This story reads exactly like and looks exactly like an unaired episode of the cartoon.

    With this in mind, one has to approach this story not with an overly critical eye, as we would with Stormbringer or Infiltration, but with a much more forgiving stance.

    It's meant to be fun, and that's how I have found it. It is certainly not without flaws in plot or even in coloring (Starscream is wrongly colored red in one big panel), but its well worth the buy, particularly for those who loved the cartoon.

    The redesigns are cool, and I'm actually much more drawn in by the human element in this story than in Infiltration.

    Again, I find the darker coloring tone really lends itself in making this story feel like its taking place during that time period. Whereas I felt this browner tone was overdone in Infiltration, here it fits perfectly and I hope it does not change much with the final two issues. And I really hope Guido stays on the book because I'm liking where this book has gone artistically.

    I'll give it a "B". Lighthearted Transformery fun with some cool ideas, and I'm surprisingly enjoying this more than Infiltration.
     
  2. Outtsyder

    Outtsyder Well-Known Member

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    I only just submitted my review, so it's pending approval from the TFW2005 staff. For discussion's sake, I'll also post a copy in here:

    Review of IDW’s Transformers: Evolutions #2 “Hearts Of Steel”


    Sorry for the delay; inconsistent net access slowed me down this week. Anyway, the plot begins to pick up in this “foreign” era, and while not a world-shattering story, it’s still pretty fun to read. And now… cue the Spoiler Space….


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    (cues up Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”)


    COVER:

    The two main cover variants are as follows: Cover A shows robot-mode Shockwave shin-deep in the water in the harbor at night, staring down Tobias Muldoon. Cover B is a wraparound sketch cover; front cover shows Starscream in his new robot mode, with the back cover showing an uncolored sketch of his bi-plane mode. A retail incentive cover is also available, also in wraparound style, showcasing Starscream’s aircraft mode, with additional concept sketches for his design.


    INSIDE COVER DETAILS:

    The horizontal banner at the top of the page shows a look at all three Hearts Of Stell Insecticons in robot mode. Story is written by Chuck Dixon, art by Guido Guidi, inks by Aaron Leach, colors by John Fotos, lettering by Sulaco Studios. Editing is, of course, by Chris Ryall and Dan Taylor.


    THE STORY:

    The story begins with comparative shots of hammer’s heads at work, driving the rail spikes into the train tracks; the left shots are from John Henry’s hand-swung hammer, the right shots show a steam-driven hammer from Bumblebee’s train mode (who still hasn’t revealed his true self to the Earth natives). The workmen marvel at this foreign train’s lack of fatigue and how it’ll make the rail-laying work much easier and faster. John, however, still isn’t impressed, still concerned that the machine would replace human-based work. Though Cletus, one of his crew, makes a comment that almost tempts John to imagine Cletus’ head as a rail spike, John laughs it off and the group takes a break before getting back to work. But nearby, a Mr. Vanflint and his paper-pusher Smythe are fascinated by this new machine, hope to find its origins, and prepare to order twelve more like it.

    We move to an underwater scene, where Shockwave – who met Tobias at the harbor at the end of last issue – introduces the awestruck human to the re-activated Decepticons, hard at work and not having yet reformatted their bodies with contemporary alt-modes. Starscream comes forward and offers to make a deal with Tobias, claiming to offer Earth a chance to advance as the planet’s in the midst of an Industrial Revolution, with the help of the human to locate and acquire the resources to do so… including economic factors…

    Later that night, back at the track-laying sight, John takes another look at the little steam train, and scoffs that “steel and steam are no replacement for muscle and sweat.” However, it’s that moment when Bumblebee transforms to robot mode – shocking the legendary “hammerin’ man” – and tells him that he doesn’t want to replace the humans and their work… but just help them. After recovering from the initial surprise, John warms up to the Autobot and accepts.

    We are then led to a stationary cargo train – loaded with money and gold bullion and bound for Sacramento – surrounded by heavily-armed guards. The guards are of no use to an unexpected train robber… a transforming train! The intruding vehicle splits into the formerly-insectoid trio of Shrapnel, Kickback and Bombshell, and the newly-arrived Decepticons gather the cargo that Tobias had described; “sheets of pressed inert plant matter with pictures of humans on them”. The next day, Tobias and the Decepticons are conferring in the middle of the desert, discussing his technological plans while the Decepticons insist on the secrecy of the use of such a remote location. When Tobias argues that the lack of nearby materials would prevent construction of the new base, the Insecticons arrive with their stolen cargo of money and currency, enabling Tobias to order shipments of the materials needed for the project.

    Word of last night’s train robbery makes front-page news, but John Henry’s crew, Ned and Cletus, have a laugh at the soldiers’ description of the robbers as “steel monsters”, but John keeps his own meeting with Bumblebee quiet. Bumblebee reports news of the train robbery to the Autobots’ hidden base to Ratchet and Prowl, and they all conclude the Decepticons are back in business. Although Bumblebee was reprimanded for revealing himself to a human, Ratchet and Prowl also agree that the humans – and Earth – will be in trouble if the Decepticons expound on their technological potential. They also deduce that the Decepticons may not be able to stay hidden for long. Speaking of the Decepticon base, we find that it was GROWN to major proportions. Construction and expansion is still continuing, including a network of train rails. Just as Tobias is about to deliver more paperwork to Starscream’s command center, the Decepticon – who does not realize the human is there – brags about his own real agenda of conquering the Earth and – surprise, surprise – getting rid of Megatron. The next step in Starscream’s plan is to send a flight squad in front of “the Astrotrain” to claim an electrical power generator for themselves. Tobias flees…

    And ten days later, without a place to stay to rest or clean up, he shows up at the Merriweather residence in San Francisco to warn them about the new threat. Hotel owner Stanford Merriweather is just about to order Tobias to leave the place and stay away from his daughter, but his houseguest, Mark Twain, intervenes, and wants to know just what has happened.

    To Be Continued….


    COMMENTS:

    As has been stated before, this “Hearts Of Steel” mini-series was fixing to be something very different from what we had seen before, and for the most part (thus far), it is… and in some ways, fairly similar in a few storytelling elements from the past. While this isn’t a huge cosmic war against a planet-sized demi-god threatening to absorb the universe (although massive battle stories are also entertaining), here we see Autobots and Decepticons revealing themselves for the first time to the human population, with their different plans, and trying to find a way to co-exist with the human society in that particular part of land on the Earth. Of course, this happens almost every time when a TF series (comic or cartoon) shows the Autobots and Decepticons make their first appearances amid human beings, but not counting the GIJoe/TF cross-overs from the last few years (because I haven’t read them), I don’t recall these kind of reactions that any of the Transformers had toward human society since the early issues of the classic Marvel G1 comic series. Some examples from those old issues included Bumblebee in Sparkplug’s auto-body shop (“Do all small pink things ask so many questions?”), or the Decepticons invading a power station, observing that the Earth machines are far more technologically advanced than the human operators (“What a backward world!”). In this issue, such an example is the Insecticons’ bewilderment over what humans use for money… slips of paper with dead people’s faces on them, in a manner of speaking.

    Of course, those of us who’ve read the older comics before recall how the humans were often hostile towards any giant robot, except for those few humans who WERE in the know. Chances are we may get that as well, thanks to the newspaper article about the Insecticons’ train robbery, along with Tobias’ realization that he’d been duped, as well as John Henry’s meeting with Bumblebee… and possibly his trust in Bumblebee’s offer being eroded, unless he’s able to distinguish between Autobot and Decepticon. So in a way, while the setting is a completely different era from any other official TF story produced before, a lot of those story elements about TF-human meetings pretty much still remain.

    Not to say that it’s a bad story; if you let yourself enjoy it, you probably will. I personally still like the guessing game in figuring out who’s who among the re-designed TFs (before their names are inevitably released), and just like in “Infiltration”, neither Optimus Prime nor Megatron have appeared in the spotlight yet, appearances saved probably for later. Mention of “the Astrotrain”, instead of simply calling “him” Astrotrain should spark speculation; will this be a re-design of the Triple Changer that we know, or is it just a name for a new super-powered train that Starscream is building? And speaking of Starscream… maybe this is only because of my still-dormant writing plans of “The Lord Of The Matrixes”, but Starscream’s initial offers and discussions with Tobias – about advancement of technology with the help of a human mind – reminded me so much of Saruman’s voice-over part in “The Two Towers” when his army of Uruk-Hai were building up and preparing their attack against Rohan. Well, the Decepticon base certainly expanded, but the increasing size of that base is inevitably going to foil the secrecy that they were hoping to retain during their operations. In fact, plastering a big Decepticon symbol on your main center kind of ruins the inconspicuousness.

    After the story, there is still no letters section present, but several ads instead: Alternators Optimus Prime, the forthcoming TF Animated Movie Adaptation comic, the “Infiltration” TPB, a preview of the next “Generations” issue (reprinting classic Marvel US’s “The Bridge To Nowhere”), the “Generations” monthly series in general, the 20th Anniversary Edition DVD of TF:TM, IDW’s TF posters, and the “storm is brewing” ad for “Stormbringer”, even though the mini-series is already halfway completed.

    OVERALL:

    Even though it’s not my all-time favorite TF story I’ve ever read, it’s actually not that bad. The story elements are kind of reminiscent of the old days of the G1 comic and cartoon, and while those weren’t “perfect”, that didn’t stop them from becoming hits, either.


    SCORE: 3.75 Matrixes out of 5

    Outtsyder
     
  3. Acid Wing

    Acid Wing Senior Alien TF Member

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    Love the art, and I'm starting to find that the story harkens back to the warm and fuzzy fun of the old G1 cartoon.

    Though, the only major gripe was the color mix up between Skywarp and Starscream. Also, I still have minor issues with the somewhat dark and dull colors, but it doesn't distract me enough from enjoying the series.
     
  4. KidDynamite

    KidDynamite don't know nothing Veteran

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    I really love this series. Can't wait for issue 3.
     
  5. McBradders

    McBradders James Franco Club! Moderator

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    It was pretty aces.
     
  6. rattrap007

    rattrap007 Insert witty comment here TFW2005 Supporter

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    I'm enjoying it. Nice to have it in a different time period and actually be able to see what things look like.. I'm looking at you Transformers/GI Joe WWII comic... You sucked!!
     
  7. Zzeezz

    Zzeezz Ambassador of Music TFW2005 Supporter

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    I love the new designs. I like the combiner insecticons (why would they be called insecticons in this though? ).
     
  8. Foster

    Foster Super Mod

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    Notice the six legs added to the Decepticon logo on the Insecticon train? Kick Ass.
     
  9. Gears

    Gears buh-buh-body ya Veteran

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    Ebay:
    Just read it, I like that it's easier to understand than Furman's stuff lately. Really liking the redesigns and trying to spot who's who in the panels...
     
  10. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    great story, love the redesigns, but the art is failed by the terribly amateurish inks :( 

    hmm, wheres megatron and why are they hesitant to wake up prime. maybe prime is grouchy when he wakes up. good idea tho since it gives more air time for the rest of the cast. megs and prime are panel guzzlers.
     
  11. Lance Halberd

    Lance Halberd oh hai

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    Could not have said it better myself.
     

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